Friday, September 9, 2016

Voyageurs National Park: Kab Ash Trail Loop West of Meadwood Road

Finally made it back out to Ash River to hike another section of the Kab Ash Trail. After all I've heard about people getting lost out there, I was glad to have finally made it to another section to see the conditions for myself. Having hiked it, I can say that the trail is not in as bad shape as I had been led to believe.

The hike began at the parking area for the Beaver Pond Overlook Trail and Kab Ash Trail on the Meadwood Road.
Kab Ash Trailhead
Vegetation hung over parts of the trail, but this section of trail appeared to get enough use that there was a well defined, dirt treadway. I bushwhacked a short distance near the start of the hike to check out a view of the beaver pond that is visible from the overlook. From down below the pond looks more like a meadow.
1st beaver meadow
There were some signs of fall along the walk: goldenrod in bloom
goldenrod
and colorful, fallen maple leaves.
red leaf
However, I was surprised to also find a few bunchberry flowers in bloom.
bunchberry

As I moved farther from the trailhead
trail marker
the treadway of the trail became more overgrown and less defined. Still, there were some cairns
cairn
and flagging tape
flagging
to mark the way. Only once did I have to stop to look around and figure out which way the trail proceeded. Wildlife encounters only included a few birds and squirrels.
red squirrel
Mushrooms, however, were in ample supply.
red mushroom
white mushroom
another mushroom
I hiked the loop counter-clockwise.
Eric on trail
Some of the more interesting sections of trail passed through some nice red pine forest.
red pines
I also passed another beaver meadow.
beaver meadow

At the next trail junction, I opted to hike .8 mile to the junction with the next loop on the trail system. Rather than continue on this new loop, I decided to save that hike for a different day and continued to complete my original loop. The part of the trail ascended to some dry, rocky ridges that proved to be very interesting.
ridge top
There was even a view down to the surrounding forest.
view 2
Overall, this hike was pleasant, but not too impressive. I think the biggest disappointment is that in a park where 40% of the surface area is covered with water, this hike leads to very few views of water. In fact, one small stream is all the water I saw on this entire hike.

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